City Breaks Ground On $1.85M Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined City and State officials and community members to celebrate the ground breaking of the Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project in Central City. In total, $1.85 million is being allocated to improve Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. from Calliope St. to St. Andrew St. to make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly. Construction is scheduled to be completed in spring 2017.
“Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. is one of our city’s great boulevards with a rich and diverse history that is uniquely New Orleans,” Mayor Landrieu said. “Today, this corridor is seeing a resurgence and our streetscape project will complement the major public and private investments that have already been made here and trigger even more development for Central City and beyond.”
Scope of the Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project includes:
• Partial removal of the neutral ground from Felicity St. to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
• Installing wider pedestrian refuges at intersections;
• Repairing damaged sidewalks;
• Installing new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at intersections;
• Restriping the roadway from two travel lanes and parking lane to one travel lane, bike lane, and parking lane in each direction;
• Striping new high visibility crosswalks and a bike lane;
• Improving rain gardens;
• Planting landscaping and tree cuts; and
• Repaving the asphalt roadway.
Streetscape projects improve the area surrounding the roadway making them more pedestrian-friendly and encourage people to walk or bike rather than drive, City reps said. These types of projects improve public areas and help trigger investment in the surrounding community.
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “This is an exciting new part of the continued redevelopment of Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. I continue to be proud of all the work being done to revitalize this important corridor of Central City.”
Councilmember-at-Large Jason Rogers Williams said, “I am excited and optimistic about the Streetscape project and its benefits to our city. It is vital that we continue taking necessary action to improve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and increasing accessibility for the countless New Orleanians and visitors who navigate our city every day. OCH is one of several hearts of our charmed city. I am proud of what this project means for the future progress of New Orleans.
The Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project is being funded by $1.85 million in Disaster-Community Development Block Grants (D-CDBG) funds. The infrastructure improvements were designed by GEC, Inc. and will be constructed by Roubion Roads and Streets, LLC. Local DBE firms working on the project will include C & R Consulting, Inc. and CFR Trucking.
Since Mayor Landrieu took office in 2010, the City has completed twenty-four streetscape projects across New Orleans. Completed streetscape projects including Harrison Ave. in Lakeview, Read Blvd. in N.O. East, Claiborne Ave. in Lower Nine, Freret St., Bayou Rd. in Seventh Ward, Galvez St. between new UMC and VA hospitals, Broad and Washington in Broadmoor. The Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Streetscape Project is the twenty-fifth. Over $38 million in funded has been committed to making commercial and residential corridors more pedestrian and bike-friendly, City reps said.
Cedric Grant, Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans Executive Director, said, “Streetscape projects bring communities together. The Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. community will benefit greatly from the enhanced walkability this project allows. Furthermore, the dedicated bike lane will further encourage bicycle transit in the area which relieves traffic congestion and promotes healthier living.”
Pat Forbes, Louisiana Office of Community Development Executive Director, said, “The streetscape improvements now under way at Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard will enhance the repairs to infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina along this historic cultural corridor. This $1.85 million project, funded with Community Development Block Grant funds for long-term recovery, will provide a great incentive for continued recovery investments, both public and private, in the surrounding Central City neighborhood.”
During construction, residents and businesses can expect to experience temporary impacts such as limited access to areas within the construction zone, movement of heavy equipment and elevated noise levels. Residents and business owners are urged to pay attention to construction safety signage and remain outside of designated construction areas. The City and its contractor will minimize impacts and keep residents and businesses well informed of construction activities, City reps said.
Linda Pompa, Executive Director of the Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Merchants & Business Association, said, “We are excited to see this great project breaking ground after many years in the planning. These improvements will really enhance the boulevard and draw attention to all of the great businesses and attractions we have here. While this project is under construction, we want the public to know we’re open for business and encourage the public to continue to shop and discover all that is great about this corridor.”
Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. is an accredited Louisiana Main Street and a designated Cultural District. Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. is a nationally accredited Main Street Program for the second year in a row. Only eleven of Louisiana's thirty-five Main Street programs meet the standards for 2016.
As Lt. Governor, Mayor Landrieu led efforts to create Cultural Products Districts across Louisiana to revitalize the communities and contribute to the lives and livelihoods of the citizens by creating locally driven hubs of cultural activity, City reps said. The program provides two incentives for communities to create or rebuild cultural destinations through state historic tax credits and local and state sales tax exemptions on the sale of original, one-of-a-kind works of visual art.
Cultural Products Districts play a vital role in the life, economic and cultural development of New Orleans and Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. is one of twenty-two such districts in the city, City reps said. Other districts include Freret Street, Oak Street, St. Claude, Treme/ 7th Ward and Magazine Street.
Most focus on a cultural asset such as a major art institution, art and entertainment businesses, and/ or artisan production. These communities are actively engaged in the promotion, preservation, and educational aspects of the arts and culture of the neighborhood. Each neighborhood in New Orleans has its own unique history, traditions, culture and even architecture. Other benefits produced by the Cultural Products District program include increased occupancy, property renovations, an improved sense of community, and increases in cultural activities and related jobs.
For more information about Cultural Products Districts in New Orleans click here.